From doghouse to team leader

From doghouse to team leader


Coach Mike Singletary announced six season-long captains for the 49ers, and they weren’t necessarily slam-dunk appointments.


Linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes, and defensive lineman Justin Smith were named captains, along with special-teamer Michael Robinson. The offensive captains did not include a running back or a quarterback. Instead, Eric Heitmann and . . . wait for it . . . . wait . . . wait . . . Vernon Davis (!) were chosen.


“I’m excited about Vernon,” Singletary said. “He exemplifies a lot of the qualities to be a leader.”


Vernon.jpgOf course, the national perception is that Singletary despises Davis, which is understandable because of the episode during Singletary’s first game that was replayed over and over. Singletary banished Davis to the locker room – during the Oct. 26 game against the Seahawks – after Davis was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.


Questions about that incident inspired Singletary’s famed “I want winners!” tirade. Now, Davis has come all the way back to achieve captain status.


“It was nice to hear,” Davis said. “It says a lot, that I’ve matured and coach really thinks a lot of me and I have a chance to be a leader on this team.”


As for that rough initial incident, Davis said, “That was the first game and we had to get on the same page.”


It wasn’t long after that Davis began speaking about Singletary in glowing terms.


Davis said he likes Singletary’s “spirit and excitement and the way he approaches (coaching), almost like he’s playing. I can relate to that.”


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The 49ers did not work this week during practice with speakers pumping noise onto the practice field. Instead, the team wore ear plugs for portions of practice so that they could not hear anything. Last year, crowd noise was one of the issues the 49ers had difficulty handling in their last-minute meltdown against the Cardinals.


“I want us to be as prepared for any issues that come up,” Singletary said.


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The receiver position continues to be a work in progress, Singletary said.


“We know that Josh Morgan is on one side and Isaac (Bruce) is on the other,” Singletary said. Other than that, he said Arnaz Battle and Micheal Spurlock will be the slot receivers – with both being used depending on the situation.


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QB Alex Smith, who missed the final two exhibition games with a right thumb sprain, will be the team’s backup behind starter Shaun Hill. Rookie Nate Davis is the No. 3 guy.


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The 49ers made no changes to their injury report. WR Brandon Jones (shoulder) and LB Ahmad Brooks (knee) are out.


For the Cardinals . . . WR Anquan Boldin (hamstring, WR Early Doucet (ribs) and QB Brian St. Pierre (back) are questionable. WR Steve Breaston (knee), WR Sean Morey (ribs) and S Matt Ware (shoulder) are probable.


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